Doctors of the Church and Fathers of the Church, different criteria

Doctor of the Church is a distinction not to be confused with that of the Fathers of the Church. The title of Doctor of the Church is only granted posthumously to someone who has already been canonized. Some doctors of the Church are also part of the Fathers of the Church, but the criteria for being recognized one or the other are not the same.

The files of future doctors are examined by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Then the title proposal is submitted to the Pope. It is he who proclaims the doctors of the Church, often by apostolic letter.

The first woman to be proclaimed Doctor of the Church was Saint Teresa of Avila, in 1970. Catherine of Siena, Thérèse of Lisieux and Hildegarde de Bingen are also. Several files of potential doctors are currently being studied, including those of a certain number of women, including the French Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, Thomas de Villeneuve, Vincent de Paul, Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, Jean Eudes and Irénée from Lyon.


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